The European Commission will on Thursday propose the introduction of so-called digital wallets that will offer access to a range of services across the EU for the bloc’s 450 million citizens, in a further step toward closer integration in the aftermath of the pandemic.
“Under the new rules, European Digital Identity Wallets will be available to everyone,” according to a draft of the proposals seen by Bloomberg. The wallets will allow European Union citizens to digitally identify themselves, and store identity data and official documents such as driving licenses, medical prescriptions or education qualifications.
Several member states already provide digital forms of identity, so the proposed new app would interact with existing systems while providing EU citizens with the right to a service that is recognized across the bloc. The wallet wouldn’t be obligatory.
The Covid-19 pandemic has accelerated the process of European integration with member states last year agreeing on a joint program of economic stimulus focused on green and digital investments and backed by common debt issuance. The bloc’s governments also tasked the commission with procuring Covid-19 vaccines on their behalf and agreed to share the shots available depending on their population. They have also introduced interoperable certificates that allow travel within the bloc for those who have been vaccinated, have tested negative, or recovered from the virus.
With the new ID wallets, which will have the form of a phone app similar to those used in Android and Apple Inc. phones, EU citizens will be able to rent cars outside their home country, prove their age, apply for loans, open a bank account, submit tax declarations, or enroll in a university. The commission aims to release a technical toolbox which can be used for the introduction of the wallets by October 2022.
June 2, 2021, 2:52 AM EDT